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House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was bank.

Topics

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that post-secondary education is vitally important to Canadians and their families. It has been the subject of a great deal of consultation during the past year in our discussions with many people across Canada and with the governments of the provinces and territories.

I look forward to moving forward on that issue when we have the budget in the House in two weeks.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, the last time this government was swimming in surpluses, it reacted the way it always does: it gave students a pittance and it made cuts in essential programs designed for people who need them the most. The funding for the court challenges program and other programs for linguistic minorities has been cut irresponsibly.

Who is going to be the next one to suffer this year? Who is going to be the government's next victim?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member opposite would not refer to his constituents as victims, since they just were the beneficiaries of $170 million in infrastructure funding announced by my colleague, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, for the Red River floodway.

That is progress in the Red River and that is progress in my colleague's constituency.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, driven by its anti-women, anti-equality ideology, the Conservative government cut $5 million from the budget of Status of Women Canada. The end result gutted the policy and research unit, closed 12 of 16 regional offices and excluded equality seeking organizations from future funding.

Given that the government is posting multi-billion dollar surpluses, when will the Prime Minister recommit his government to the fight for women's equality?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, while the previous government kept 17 offices open, Canada was put on a watch list for human trafficking. The report of the United Nations said that Canada was not doing enough about violence against women, particularly aboriginal women.

In fact, in one year this government has done more for women. Real action has been taken. We are addressing matrimonial property rights for aboriginal women. We have toughened legislation dealing with sexual predators. We have many pieces of legislation, which I ask the party opposite to support.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is nothing more than more hogwash. The government has actually pushed women's equality back 20 years, not forward.

Last Thursday protesters were removed, by force, from the Status of Women offices in St. John's, Newfoundland. It is more proof of the contempt the government has for women and women's issues.

Will the finance minister promise that women's equality will get additional funding in his upcoming budget? If he supports women's equality, when will he put his money where his mouth is?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, when we talk about the rights of women in Canada, the government has put forward recognition of the rights of aboriginal women, particularly matrimonial property rights. We are going to make a difference. In fact, the $5 million will be going to help women, which is almost a 50% increase toward women and their needs.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to United States Trade Representative, Susan Schwab, Quebec and Ontario are in contravention of the softwood lumber agreement.

In July 2006, the Bloc Québécois and the Quebec Forest Industry Council supported the agreement, but issued some concerns about the anti-circumvention clause in the agreement.

What does the Minister of International Trade intend to do in response to the allegations by the Americans?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Conservative

David Emerson ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member knows that we just established our binational committee to review a number of issues under the softwood lumber agreement. These provincial practices will be discussed there. We had a very cordial first meeting.

Other discussions are ongoing, on how provinces can come out from this agreement, and the exit ramps issue. A number of very positive constructive discussions are taking place.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Americans are abusing the anti-circumvention clause of the softwood lumber agreement to once again harm the forestry industry in Quebec and Canada.

Will the government drop its laissez-faire attitude and be firm with the Bush administration to prevent a new war on softwood lumber from starting up? Enough is enough.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Conservative

David Emerson ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

It is quite to the contrary, Mr. Speaker. First, the softwood lumber agreement protects Canadian forest policies. Second, the softwood lumber agreement protects us from more trade litigation and from more aggressive taxes and duties that would be very destructive for the Canadian forest industry. Therefore, it offers a lot of protection, a lot of stability and a lot of security for the next seven to nine years.

Oil and Gas IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, as a direct result of inadequate competition, years of downsizing, mergers and refinery shutdowns in the oil industry, we are now seeing gasoline rationing in Canada's largest cities and elsewhere in Canada for the first time since the second world war.

I ask the Prime Minister Stephen Harper here and now to commit immediately to a full inquiry into the state of gasoline supply in Canada and not pass off an investigation to Canada's anemic Competition Bureau, which oversaw and abetted the decline in competition in the oil industry and enabled major oil companies to create the shortages of high gasoline prices that Canadians face today.

Will he do it now?

Oil and Gas IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the gas supply has been impacted by a number of fires in recent weeks.

I am pleased to report to the House that the crude unit at the large refinery at Nanticoke came back on line last night. We expect to see increased gasoline deliveries as early as Wednesday, but there are still more issues to deal with.

We are working with the industry and the provinces affected to do every thing we can to mitigate any shortages. Our government is committed to doing that and working with all the interested parties in the interest of all Canadians.

FisheriesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bill Casey Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, last year 100 employees of the Clearwater fish plant in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia were involved in a labour dispute. Later on in the dispute the fish plant operators decided not to reopen the plant. These employees have not had access to any employment benefits ever.

Could the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development please tell the House what he is doing to help those who have been affected by this plant closure?

FisheriesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we are concerned very much about the welfare of these workers. At issue is whether these lay-offs occurred because of a labour dispute, and that is precisely at what the board of referees is looking.

I have asked my department to expedite the decision on whether to pursue this appeal. We want to see this issue wrapped up as soon as possible, precisely because we are concerned about the welfare of those workers.

Arctic SovereigntyOral Questions

February 27th, 2007 / 2:55 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, Canada's Arctic sovereignty is becoming a concern for working Canadians. With the ice melting and the Northwest Passage opening wider every day, the government does not even know who is in charge of protecting our sovereignty.

Earlier this month the general in charge of military planning said that Indian and Northern Affairs is now responsible for Arctic sovereignty.

Could the Prime Minister tell northerners what has the government planned for Arctic sovereignty and who is in charge of this critical file?

Arctic SovereigntyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, a number of departments and ministers are involved in enforcing our sovereignty in the north.

I provide the military portion of northern sovereignty. The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development is also involved, as are the Minister of Natural Resources, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other ministers.

Arctic SovereigntyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, the government is more confused than even I thought. Someone has to be in charge. From the general's comments last week, I am to understand that a new approach is being developed, a civilian approach, like the NDP has recommended.

Will the new approach be one of stewardship? We must focus on sustainable development and research, while working cooperatively with the people of the north. Will the minister include the people of the north as plans for Arctic sovereignty are being developed?

Arctic SovereigntyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, our government takes the north as a very important element of our country, not only our sovereignty but also to protect the environment and the people up there as well. Any action we take, no matter which department, we will always consult the people up there.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, some Canadians are learning that they are in danger of losing, or have lost, their citizenship.

At committee, the minister stated that approximately 450 individuals had come to their attention. The President of the Treasury Board is reported as indicating there could be as many as 2,000 alone in his riding. Statistics Canada indicates there are over 50,000. A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.

Will the minister admit that she has absolutely no idea how many Canadians are in this situation? Will she also admit that she has no plan to deal with these Canadians? Will the minister admit that she has absolutely no clue in what she is doing?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we have made it very clear that the situation we inherited from the previous government is a serious one. That is why we are taking action by having a dedicated line in our call centre. We have dedicated agents to help these people. We are also working closely with our partners at CBSA and Passport Canada.

Let me say this and put it in context. The hon. member has been saying that Statistics Canada is claiming 50,000 of these people. I have a letter that says, “I would like to clarify an error appearing February 20 in various media articles with regard to the concept of lost citizens—

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Dufferin—Caledon.

AfghanistanOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, Pakistan is increasingly being identified as an important element of a comprehensive strategy to address the security situation in Afghanistan, a point which the Prime Minister emphasized yesterday.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs inform the House what action Canada is taking to encourage Pakistan to improve the security situation in Afghanistan?

AfghanistanOral Questions

3 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, while Pakistan is indeed an important ally in the fight against terror, Pakistan and Afghanistan need to do more to combat the instability and poverty exploited by the Taliban insurgency.

Canada has offered solutions to help better police the border, a point that I made during my recent visit in January to both countries. A Canadian multi-departmental border security assessment team has just recently returned from surveying that border and meeting with officials in those countries. I look forward to reviewing that work.

These recommendations will be used to jointly develop new effective border management projects. These efforts are important for the safety of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Canadians and the success of the overall mission.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, hundreds of Canadians who have purchased weekly bus passes are left waiting at the bus stop when it comes to the Conservative transit tax credit. If someone buys a pass four weeks at a time, the government will give that individual money. However, if they buy four weekly passes, the government says that it does not add up to a month. I think it is only logical that the minister fix the loophole and allow weekly pass holders access to the tax credit.

Does the minister disagree with my logic, or will he support ordinary Canadians and extend the program to weekly pass holders?